Lahore: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) nominee Sardar Usman Ahmad Khan Buzdar has been elected chief minister of Punjab after beating Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate Hamza Shehbaz.
The Punjab Assembly witnessed a face-off between rival political parties as newly-elected lawmakers voted to choose leader of the house. Where Buzdar secured 186 votes, the PML-N protege bagged 159 votes in the open ballot.
The chief minister poll was delayed by three hours as the session commenced late. Shortly after speaker Pervez Elahi commenced the session, PML-N staged a protest against “rigged polls”.
Earlier today, Hamza reiterated that PML-N decided to be part of the assemblies despite “rigged polls” to ensure functionality of democracy. “We are becoming part of the assembly with a heavy heart, wearing black armbands,” he said while speaking to the media outside Punjab Assembly.
According to Express News, Pakistan Peoples Party exercised its right to abstain from voting.
Hailing from Taunsa Tehsil of District Dera Ghazi Khan, Buzdar was a member of former chief minister Shehbaz Sharif’s team. Previously he was elected twice as Nazim of DG Khan district during Gen Musharraf’s tenure. In 2013 general polls he contested and lost MPA seat on a PML-N ticket. In 2018, he was elected MPA from PP-286 (Taunsa) on a PTI ticket.
The 49-year-old received his early education in his ancestral tribal area before moving to Multan for graduate and post-graduate degrees. He also remained member Taunsa Bar Council.
The PTI leader belongs to a tribal, political family in South Punjab. His father, tribal chief Sardar Fateh Mohammad Khan, was a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora during the era of Ziaul Haq and. In 1985 he was elected as an independent to the Punjab Assembly. In 2002 and 2008, he contested and won on Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) ticket. He remained a close aide to then chief minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi.
PTI received criticism following Buzdar’s nomination as the candidate was suspect in corruption and murder cases. In 1998, Buzdar and his father paid blood money in murder charges. In 2008, cases were registered against the lawyer for abuse of power by granting political favours and looting money from public exchequer. However, NAB cleared him after investigations.
On Saturday, Imran dismissed the objections against Buzdar’s candidature and insisted upon his party’s lawmakers to implicitly trust his judgment.
On the other hand, PML-N fieldedHamza for the CM slot with the approval of deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
The 43-year-old runs a the family business in Punjab and has been in news for allegedly assaulting former wife Ayesha Ahad.
After losing Punjab Assembly seat in 2008 general elections, Hamza was elected unopposed to the August House in by-elections. In 2013 he won NA seat from home turf Lahore. In 2018, Hamza contested for NA and PA seats and won both. He decided to retain MPA seat.
It is pertinent to note that the Shehbaz-led party is not in a position to win in Punjab Assembly with 159 MPAs compared to PTI’s 175 members.